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2010 Competition Results - 844 mpg
June 10-11th, 2010
We have just returned from the 2010 SAE Supermileage Competition held at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall Michigan. Our Zips Racing team achieved a top run of 844 mpg, along with a total design score of 325. This composite score of 1169 was able to secure a 7th place finish out of a total 33 registered teams for the event. There were only 21 teams to make it through the technical inspection portion of the competition. Out of all the registered participants only 14 teams were able to post a completed mileage run.
Zips Racing is proud to announce that we were the first team through technical inspection for the second year in a row. This year's rigorous inspection has taught us a lot about keeping the vehicle safe, as well as conforming to the rules laid out by the SAE and Eaton Corporation. Being that we are losing an integral group of team members for the upcoming year, the knowledge that was imparted to us through this procedure will prove to be invaluable in our future inspections. We have made this aspect of the competition a priority, and look forward to being the first team through technical inspection for many years to come.
Thank you to all of our sponsors as well as those faculty and advisors who have made it possible for us to compete at this year's competition. Moving forward, we will be redesigning a new vehicle for the 2011 SAE Supermileage Competition next June. Also we will be visiting the 2011 Shell Eco-Marathon Competition in March of next year in hopes to compete there in 2012.
Well, it has been a long time since we last updated this page. Unfortunately, it was a product of the semester. Towards the end we were completely overwhelmed with lab reports, exams, homework, and then trying to squeeze in building an entirely new Supermileage car for 2009. We were able to complete everything before competition, if only just. Our engine started for the first time Wednesday morning before we left for Michigan. We had minimal dyno time and no in-car testing time, which definitely hindered our performance at competition.
The lack of thorough testing manifested itself at competition on Thursday during practice laps, when our engine seized. At some point, possibly on the dyno, our engine oil dipper became separated from the connecting rod. This caused a significant, if not complete reduction in oil circulation. This in turn caused the rod bearing to spin. We did bring a spare engine from the 2008 car but unfortunately the intake did not clear the frame rail. Instead of hacking away at the intake we used a Dremel and sandpaper to clean up the bearing surfaces and added 3x the normal oil to the engine.
Even with the engine failure, our car proved to be one of the most reliable and consistent car at competition. We were the first through tech and we completed 7 runs with no DNFs. Our mileage may have been off from our goals but considering all that happened we were quite proud of our performance.
Looking forward to the 2010 competition, we really feel that the lack of testing time hurt us. We also feel that the lack of a modern dyno hurt our engine development significantly (our current dyno cannot do data acquisition or even a standard dyno pull). For 2010, we plan on perfecting the design of the 2009 car through engine and chassis development. Look for updates on the 2010 car to come!
Since the last update we have been hard at work over the last two months. Most of our attention has been focused on the carís frame and body. Regarding the frame, the two sides of the carbon frame are complete, and most of the aluminum for the front and rear subframe is ready to be welded (some of it has already been welded together).
As expected, the body is taking quite a bit of time. For the last month or so we have been working on prepping the body plug. Once this is complete we will create a fiberglass mold from the plug. Finally, once the fiberglass mold is complete we will cure carbon in the mold for the final product.
Since we do not have access to a cost-effective means to CNC the body plug almost everything is done by hand. We are able to cut a rough shape into the foam using our Solidworks model, but beyond that it takes a lot of man-hours to bondo/plaster, sand and repeat until we get the shape we want. We are finally nearing completion on the body, and hope to be putting the first section of fiberglass on the plug in a week or so.
This is the first blog entry on the new site. Obviously since it is already towards the end of Novemember we have been hard at work on the 2009 supermileage car. This first post contains a brief synopsis on the direction we are taking the car this year.
For the design on the 2009 car, all of our major components have been modeled in Solidworks. We will maintain a very similar design to our 2008 car by using a body-on-frame construction.
For the frame, we decided to take the design aspects we liked from both the 2006-2007 car and 2008 car. We are using a truss-style frame similar to our 2006-2007 car, but instead of the carbon tubes we used in this design we are using boxed sections like we did on the 2008 car. This should allow us to easily bond to the flat sections, but it should also allow us to have the added rigidity of a truss-style frame.
We will again use aluminum in key areas such as the engine cradle and the front crossmember/steering assembly. We liked this approach, especially for the rear subframe, because it helped keep everything rigid. Because of this rigidy in the 2008 car, we avoided throwing a chain through testing and competition. This was a problem on the 2006-2007 car which did not use aluminum for the rear subframe.
For the engine, we are in the process of creating a new, smaller engine for this year's competition. We feel this should allow us to gain a bit more mileage because of the smaller, more efficient design.